Iowa 4-H Foundation

Posted on May 2, 2013 at 12:07 PM by Global Reach

The first county agent in Henry County was Don E. Fish.  His responsibility entailed both agricultural consultations and boys’ club work advisor.  Naturally, with 4-H clubs springing up in Iowa, Henry County also joined in by organizing clubs. Henry County agents and directors are as follows:
Group of Henry County 4-H MembersDon E Fish March 1914 - December 1921
Glenn Hazen 1917 – 1918
S. G. Baxter December 1921 – December 1927
C. G. Turner January 1928 – April 1930
Len R. Beath May 1930 – January 1942
Floyd Goodell February 1942 – May 1949
Robert Denney June 1949 – December 1950
Philip J. Baird January 1951 – December 1958
Richard L. Thuma (County Extension Director) December 1958 - ? 1986
Rick Godke (Co. Extension Director) 1987 - 1990
Phil Greenburg 1991-92
Janet Smith (County Extension Education Director) September?? 1992 – to date
The first Home Demonstration Agent was Dorothy Munson in 1918.  Her responsibility included working with girls’ home demonstration clubs.  Henry County Home Demonstration Agents and Economists are as follows:
Dorothy Munson May 1918 – December 1919
Claire Hoge November 1935 – November 1936
Dorothy Bower December 1936 – June 1938
Geraldine Erdahl July 1938 – May 1941
Lillian Peckham October 1942 – July 1945
Shirley Nelson June 1947 – September 1948
Mary Tinkham December 1948 – September 1950
Virginia Ray January 1953 – September 1954
Julia Andrew October 1954 – May 1955
Arlene Harms November 1955 – September 1957
JoAnn Osenbaugh June 1959 – September 1960
Linda Louden July 1960 – September 1961
Connie Smith May 1962 – December 1963
Mary Petsche Raid January 1964 – August 1967
Jane Betchel September 1967 – July 1969
Judy Freed March 1970 – October 1972
Mary Cullison October 1972 - 85
Joann Alderton 1985-91
Group of Henry County 4-H Members holding awardsThe first 4-H club agent in Henry County was Richard E Davison, beginning in 1934.  Extension 4-H Agents, 4-H Directors and 4-H Employees in Henry County have been as follows:
Richard E. Davison February 1934 – September 1936
Ralph Olson December 1936 – December 1936
Kenneth Wagner March 1937 – May 1938
Jon Pulling June 1938 – July 1940
Russell Sawyer August 1940 – January 1942
Paul Peterson January 1942 – July 1942
Les Schoffelman (multi-county) June 1967 – July 1986
Janet Smith (multi-county) April 1987 – 1991
Carol Gard (4-H Program Assistant/County Youth Coordinator) June 1989 – September 2007
Kaitlyn Wintermeyer November 2008 – 2009
Alison Reif Jones 2009-present
Extension teaching in Henry County has changed considerably since it began in 1914.  Originally the county agent primarily conducted personal services and urging individuals to adopt approved practices and later publicizing these results.
The teaching of 4-H club work was also primarily a matter of personal instruction to each club member. There was no club organization and very little local volunteer leadership to assist with the 4-H club program.  Gradually, as more people became interested, local leaders were developed to assist with the educational program and the agents work developed more on the basis of meetings, demonstrations and tours.
The postwar (World War II) period was primarily a period of reorganization of boys’and girls 4-H clubs in the county.  By the end of World War II, there were only three boys and five girls 4-H clubs active in Henry County.  Most of the clubs, which became inactive during the war, did so because their leaders joined the Armed Services and volunteer leaders were not available due to farm labor shortages.  However, many youth and families did take part in victory garden projects.
During the period of 1948-1954 much emphasis in 4-H was directed to exhibiting of projects.  During this period county fairs experience their greatest growth.  The boys and girls 4-H programs became more state directed in the mid-1950’s.  The boys’ program materials followed a cycle of animal husbandry, agronomy, and ag engineering.  The girls’ program materials alternated between foods, clothing and home furnishings. In 1958, enrollment figures for Henry County were recorded as 240 girls and 155 boys.  In the late 1950’s more emphasis was placed on volunteer leader training.  These were conducted by county staff and state specialists.
Objectives of 4-H from the 1930’s to the late 1950’s was teaching of skills with emphasis on livestock production, crop production, clothing construction, food preservation and home furnishings.
In the early 1960’s, Henry County began camping projects with Des Moines County, and the bi-county camp concept was formed.  The purpose of the county youth program in the early 1960’s was to help young people achieve their developmental tasks and satisfy their basic needs from childhood through adolescence.
IGroup of Henry County 4-H Members working togethern the mid 1960’s, Iowa State University identified the area concept.  Henry County became one of seven counties in the Southeast Iowa Extension Area.  Other counties included: Lee, Des Moines, Louisa, Muscatine, Scott and Clinton.  In 1967 Les Schoffelman became 4-H & Youth Leader for Henry, Des Moines and Lee Counties.  After one year Henry and Des Moines Counties were identified as a multi-county 4-H unit.
In the 1970’s, 4-H tried to appeal to the rural and urban population by moving into town with 4-H projects such as leadership, citizenship, photography, electricity, companion animals, woodworking, etc.
As emphasis shifted more from the project to the member in the 1970’s, 4-H identified it’s purpose to be: 1) improve international understanding; 2) acquire knowledge and practical skills in sciences & technology; 3) stimulate youth in personal development; 4) develop understanding toward self and others toward responsible citizenship; and 5) increase effectiveness of adults and youth in volunteer leadership. The 1973 enrollment figures in Henry County were 219 boys, 324 girls, for a total of 543 4-H'ers.
Les Shoffelman served as the president of the National Association of Extension 4-H Professional in 1985.  He left Henry County in1985 and assumed a position in South Dakota as a Regional Director.
Budget constraints with Iowa State University Extension created a hiring freeze that was not lifted until 1987.  Janet Smith was hired as a County Youth Leader in partnership with Lee County, serving 50% time in each county.  Carol Gard was hired as a part-time youth assistant in 1989.  The program worked cooperatively with the four local school districts especially in the areas of annual outdoor science education days for students, and homeschool science classes.  ISU Extension ran Afterschool Adventures program for 5 years in cooperation with the Mt. Pleasant School District.  Two successful fundraising efforts were—the Fairbook Ad Sales and 4-H Auction and Soup Supper having generated and continue to generate over $12,000 annually for the local 4-H program.  
A list of clubs for this current year, 2013 include the following: 
 4-H Wizards, Act II Drama Stars, Baltimore Barn Busters, Clover Kids, Cooking Club 101, Henry County Achievers, Henry County Dog Club, Jefferson Juniors, Jackson Juniors, Lucky Clover Kids, New London Lassies and Lads, New London Pioneers, Outdoor Club, Salem Shining Stars, Scott Sodbusters, Sharp Shooters, Silver Spurs, Sunshiners, Triple C, Wayne Soil Savers. There are currently 46 4-H leaders in our county, with over 220 youth in 4-H. We also have 25 youth involved in our two clover kid groups.

To make a donation to the Henry County Endowment through the Iowa 4-H Foundation, click this button. Then select Henry County in the far right column (My 4-H County) and complete the gift information.

Visit the Henry County 4-H Website.

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Continue the Henry County 4-H History and share your comments below. 


We recently moved to Henry county and my daughter expressed joining 4H can I get more information.
Joyce Taylor | 3/20/23 at 3:16 AM
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